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If this is the first time you are using Windows 7 Media Center, you should take time to go through the setup process and configure it for optimal use. Often it is tempting to skip detailed setup in favor of using the program as quickly as possible. By setting up Windows 7 Media Center properly the first time, you ensure the best experience while using the program. In this guide, I’ll walk through the setup process and explain what each step does and how to configure it to your needs.

This guide is from the Windows Media Center Customization Series. Learn more about Media Center and find more customizations here.

Note: This guide is written for Windows 7 Media Center.

The first time you run Windows 7 Media Center, you’ll see a welcome screen–click Continue.

As mentioned above, this guide focuses on a custom Windows 7 Media Center setup. So, let’s begin: click Custom.

Click Next.

Participation in the improvement program is voluntary. Make a decision and click Next.

As long as you don’t have any “shady” files on your PC, I’d click yes because this will improve your media layout greatly.

If you clicked Yes, click Next.

There are three components to be set up: display, audio, and media.

Optimize how Windows Media Center Looks

Click Optimize how Windows Media Center looks on my display and click Next.

Click Next.

If you have a second monitor on which you’d like W7MC to display or you are connected to a TV, make adjustments (click No, I want to use a different display) and when you’re ready, click Next.

Tell Windows 7 Media Center which type of display you’re using so it can determine optimal output settings.

Tell Windows 7 Media Center which layout screen you’re using: standard or widescreen. Click Next.

Windows 7 Media Center will detect your resolution; click Next.

Click Next.

Set Up Your Speakers

To set up your speakers, finish configuring your display (from the steps above), click Set up my speakers and click Next.

Tell Windows 7 Media Center which speaker setup you have and click Next.

Test your speakers to ensure you can hear sound from them.

If you didn’t hear sound, you can troubleshoot the problem.

Follow each step until you find the problem.

You’re done; your speakers are configured to work with Windows 7 Media Center.

Set up Media

To configure your media libraries in Windows 7 Media Center, follow the steps above to set up your speakers and, when you’re done, click Setup my media libraries. Click Next.

You’ll need to configure each media library; pick a media type and click Next.

Add specific folders to the library.

Indicate the location of your folders.

And select the folders that contain your music. Windows 7 Media Center will detect which folders should contain music so double check these.

If you have network folders setup, you can add those too:

Pick the computer name and find the music folders.

Once you’re done selecting music, click Next.

Windows 7 Media Center will import your music information into its libraries.

Once you’ve added all types of media, you can click I finish and you are done.

Congratulations, Windows 7 Media Center he set up for your needs and ready for action.

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix them.

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